Police bust triad's TST stronghold in raids

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 December, 2010, 12:00am

A triad gang alleged to have controlled nightclubs and pubs in Tsim Sha Tsui while supplying mainland prostitutes and illegal drugs to its customers has been smashed after a two-year undercover operation ended in a series of raids, police said.

Thirty-six people, including the suspected ringleader of the syndicate and his core members, were arrested in the operation, which was continuing last night. The alleged mastermind is a 56-year-old man who was seized when officers raided his apartment in Kowloon City.

'Intelligence shows that the man is an alleged Tsim Sha Tsui faction leader of the Sun Yee On triad society,' a police officer said.

Nineteen mainland women, aged 23 to 40, were among those arrested. The officer said investigations showed they were recruited to work in nightclubs controlled by the gang.

A sniffer dog was used to search for drugs in one of the nightclubs and a car parked outside in Prat Avenue.

Superintendent Chan Lok-wing of the organised crime and triad bureau said the arrests were the result of a two-year undercover operation.

'Our undercover agent discovered this syndicate was active in Tsim Sha Tsui and controlled a number of entertainment venues,' he said. 'Investigations indicated it supplied its customers with mainland prostitutes and also allowed its customers and staff members in its premises to tout and take illegal drugs.'

Yesterday's crackdown was aimed at the Sun Yee On's Tsim Sha Tsui faction, which controlled a number of nightclubs and pubs in the district. Tsim Sha Tsui East is traditionally a Sun Yee On stronghold.

Dozens of police and immigration officers began raiding locations across the city, including four nightclubs in Tsim Sha Tsui, at about 11pm on Monday. By last night 16 men and 20 women, aged 22 to 63, had been arrested. Officers seized a small quantity of illegal drugs and account books during the operation.

Police said the suspects were arrested for triad-related offences, managing vice establishments, trafficking in dangerous drugs and immigration-related offences.

'Police believe this operation has netted several core members of the triad society and successfully dealt a heavy blow against the triad society active in Kowloon West region,' police said in a press statement.

The suspects were being detained for questioning last night and no one had been charged.

It was the second police crackdown on triads in two weeks. On November 29 and 30, police arrested more than 50 people in an operation against the Wo Shing Wo triad. The arrests included one of the triad's three dragonheads, nicknamed Po Ming, and two faction leaders.

Police recorded 1,645 reports of triad-related crime in the first 10 months of the year, down 13.7 per cent on the same period last year.